The South Bend, Indiana, mayor released his “Building Power: A Women’s Agenda for the 21st Century,” which his campaign called the “most ambitious and comprehensive plan released by any presidential candidate” to address gender equality.
“Women’s freedom can’t depend on Washington,” Buttigieg said in a statement. “It can only come from systematically building women’s power in our economy, our political system, and in every part of our society.”
The proposal would fight gender inequity by focusing on the pay gap, protecting abortion rights, bringing gender parity to Cabinet and judicial appointments, ending the maternal mortality crisis and guaranteeing 12 weeks of parental leave. It also includes measures to eradicate sexual and domestic violence.
Additionally, Buttigieg said he will invest $10 billion to fight sexual harassment and discrimination against women in the workplace. That money would fund measures to make employers accountable for protecting women workers and oversight. His proposal also advocates a law banning forced arbitration in cases of harassment or discrimination.
“Right now, the system places the burden on those who have experienced discrimination or harassment to advocate for change ― often at risk of retaliation,” the policy proposal states. “As a result, the vast majority of discrimination and harassment never gets reported. Pete will fund oversight and prevention efforts that make it the responsibility of employers ― not employees ― to maintain safe and equitable work environments.”
Buttigieg would fund his women’s agenda by closing the so-called Gingrich-Edwards payroll tax loophole, which allows self-employed people to avoid paying taxes into Social Security and Medicare, a campaign spokesperson told HuffPost.
Closing the loophole would bring the government $300 billion in taxes over 10 years, according to Buttigieg’s campaign spokesperson. Former President Barack Obama attempted to close the Gingrich-Edwards tax loophole during his presidency, but failed.